“The Art of Food.”
As taglines went, it was a bit presumptuous. But located near the corner of King and Longwood, right next to McMaster University, Basilique did not disappoint.
It came with a famous reputation. Ask almost any McMaster student, or indeed most Hamilton residents, about this Mediterranean restaurant, and all you’ll hear will be good. Granted, whether or not you fall in love with it will depend greatly on your tastes, but the menu certainly offers a lot to love. There are traditional options such as shawarma plates, wraps, and meat platters, but also Western fare such as subs, pizza, and wings.
The first time I went to Basilique I went straight for their classics. What self-respecting Arab would serve bad shawarma? To be sure, it was very good, and I would confidently recommend it to those less fond of the other options on show. But it was only when I began to experiment that I realized just how good this restaurant was. Their BBQ chicken pizza is the best I’ve ever had, their Calzones are a must-try, and their subs and fries are as good as any you’ll find. Vegetarian and gluten free options are also offered, and are certainly up to the high standards of the rest of the menu.
Most restaurants have a select few specialty dishes, with the rest of the menu containing fillers seasoned customers soon discard. At Basilique, it seemed the more I explored, the better the food got. Although I usually won’t even entertain the idea of a sandwich without meat, I was pleasantly surprised by their grilled veggie pita. And their fries, so often a weak link at restaurants such as these, were certainly no slouch.
Every McMaster student I spoke to would have my head if I did not mention the chicken wings, which for some made up their entire diet in busy portions of the year. Even for someone not usually a fan of wings, I had to appreciate the quality on show here. But I warn you, if you don’t go for the midnight sun (the hottest) spice level, you’re gravely depriving yourself.
A friend once told me that the worse shape a local restaurant was in, the better the food would be, and his words proved true in this case. The one price to pay for this sublime food is a shabby interior that to say the least, you wouldn’t want to take a client to.
Luckily, delivery and takeout options are both provided, and if you aren’t too picky about the aesthetics of where you eat, you won’t mind.
All in all, Basilique is a must try if you enjoy one of the many types of food they offer. And even if you don’t, it’ll be worth your while to take a risk on the best restaurant I’ve reviewed for Lanterns.
For more info on Basilique or to order online, check out www.basilique.ca/